Bones in charge

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Terran_Empire, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. Terran_Empire

    Terran_Empire Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    One of the missed opportunities in TOS, in my opinion, was the lack of moments or circumstances which would have left Dr.McCoy at the helm ordering people around in a moment of intense crisis.

    While the Captain and his XO were routinely rendered incapacitated, captured, busy or otherwise unavailable, Scott would usually take command, which was probably for the best as McCoy and Scott were both Lt. Commanders during most if not all of TOS and Scott knew infinitely more about the Enterprises' workings and operation than McCoy (loved all the Scott-in-charge moments btw).

    ...But that is exactly why such a moment where Bones would have to make the tough decisions and ultimately save the day or at least in part contribute by way of his unorthodox and makeshift commands an interesting angle for the show to explore. I mean from all the times where Bones was passed over and even seemed uninterested in any kind of responsibility I was half-expecting him to cry "Jim, I'm a doctor, not a Starfleet officer!" :rolleyes:

    Now i'm not suggesting McCoy suddenly turn into a tactical genius or academy strategist but I would have liked to see him bark out a few more orders.

    What does everyone else think?
     
  2. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    there's a book called "doctor's orders" with this premise. Personally, I think it's a silly idea. Doctors are staff officers, like a chaplain or doctor would be in today's navies. They're not in the command line.

    I didn't like it when TNG did it with Crusher and Troi for the same reason. Command isn't just a matter of rank.
     
  3. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    Chekov would end up in command before McCoy. Just because his rank is the same as Scott's doesn't mean he's qualified to command a starship. McCoy just isn't in the line of command.
     
  4. Terran_Empire

    Terran_Empire Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    It's also pretty silly for a CO to leave the ship on 98% of the away parties and take his XO with him. TOS doesn't exactly steep itself in military realism anyway so why not have one of the main characters who holds rank have to make the tough decisions for the crew.

    The president of the United States doesn't have to know how to work an engine room to order a carrier taskforce around the world by the same token.
     
  5. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    Yes, but there would be a Captain aboard that carrier giving the commands that full fill that order. McCoy would be the carrier CO not the President.
     
  6. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Commodore Commodore

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    Others mentioned Scotty taking over, and if he was unavailable, then Sulu steps in--as seen in a few episodes. McCoy's not trained in command, so he would not be suited for the job at all--even during a crisis.
     
  7. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    McCoy would be especially unsuitable commanding during a crisis.
     
  8. Terran_Empire

    Terran_Empire Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    That analogy wasn't meant to be taken that literally. You don't need to know how to fix your own car in order to take steps towards getting it fixed.
     
  9. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    You have to recognize when a problem exists to know to give orders to fix it. I mean, sure, McCoy could order Sulu to warp out of orbit or order Scott to "give him more power", but in the end, McCoy isn't needed to give those orders, as Scott and Sulu are far more experienced than McCoy and wouldn't need to be told what to do.

    McCoy is a Starfleet officer, but not all officers are qualified or interested in command.
     
  10. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    You have to know what commands to give. Commanding a ship isn't the same as dropping your car off at the mechanic and telling him you think its the transmission.
     
  11. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    Exactly. Doctors spent their training years learning medicine (or in Troi's case, pop psychology). Nobody should be put in command of a capital ship if their years of training had nothing to do with ships.

    TNG was probably trying to address criticisms they'd received for not being feminist enough. They did a better job of that with Cmdr Shelby in "The Best of Both Worlds."
     
  12. The Mirrorball Man

    The Mirrorball Man Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't care if it makes complete sense and I don't care about what happens in the US Navy. I think it would have fun and interesting to see McCoy in command.
     
  13. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Military realism or not, TOS Starfleet apparently does have rules whereby rank alone does not qualify an officer to take command, and McCoy is not qualified. It was stated in "A Taste of Armageddon," when McCoy tells Scotty what he might do if he was "an officer of the line."
     
  14. The Mirrorball Man

    The Mirrorball Man Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That can be corrected with only one line of dialogue.
     
  15. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    McCoy was also unsuited to sit on the courts martial we saw, despite being available. I'm thinking of "The Menagerie" in particular—which is why a Talosian-projected Mendez was needed.
     
  16. Shawnster

    Shawnster Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I just watched "This Side of Paradise." When Kirk leaves to track down Spock, he leaves McCoy in charge of the landing party.

    Of course, we see no scenes of McCoy giving any commands. All we see is DeSalle bring the spore plants to McCoy. Next thing we know, our good doctor is more concerned about being in charge of Mint Julips.
     
  17. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    ^^if memory serves, that was because McCoy wasn't at least a Captain.
     
  18. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Could be, but it would be an inconsistency, so better it wasn't.
     
  19. The Mirrorball Man

    The Mirrorball Man Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It would have been interesting to watch, so to hell with consistency.
     
  20. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    That's the attitude of some; I would say it should be possible to write stories that fit within a show's established rules yet still be interesting to watch. The more a show contradicts its internal consistency, the harder it is for the audience to suspend disbelief.